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Senate to probe drug killings

Men carry the body of one of those killed in an anti-drug operation in Norzagaray, Bulacan Thursday, May 26, 2016. BERNARDO BATUIGAS

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is set to investigate the rising incidence of extrajudicial killings of alleged drug pushers even as President Duterte has vowed there will be no letup in his anti-drug campaign.

The inquiry will be spearheaded by the Senate committee on justice and human rights, chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima, along with Sen. Panfilo Lacson as chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

De Lima earlier filed Resolution No. 9 seeking an investigation into “recent rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions of suspected criminals to strengthen the mechanisms of accountability of law enforcers and to institute corrective legislative measures to ensure full respect of basic human rights, especially the right to life.”

The previous days saw a tussle between De Lima and other senators, including Lacson, who thought the inquiry was premature as the Philippine National Police was also conducting its own probe on the issue.

The resolution, however, was referred to the two panels during yesterday’s session.

Initially, the resolution was referred to Lacson’s committee as the lead panel but De Lima had made representations before the Senate committee on rules chaired by Sen. Vicente Sotto III.

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“That’s no problem,” Lacson was overheard telling De Lima on the floor.

“If we can’t justify a good legislation that will come out of an investigation, our impression is that we just want to create a spectacle,” Lacson told reporters last week on De Lima’s push for a probe.

De Lima, for her part, complained of the vicious attacks against her in social media, and even in the House of Representatives where some lawmakers said they want to conduct an inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drugs that allegedly occurred during her watch as justice secretary.

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